THE SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY BY DR. JAMES L. GORDON, D.D, Author of "AlFs Love, Yet All's Law" Published by E. O. Weber, 163 King St. W. Berlin, Ontario « < 5S *** S 9 III S? §< in ? "§ $V "5$ O f///'i/i r. r" 1 "\\M £ & 7Jfe EDI COLLEi The Secret of a Strong Personality There are many echoes but few voices, many islands but few continents, many mountain ranges but few great towering mountain peaks, many parties but few leaders, many captains but few generals, many politicians but few statesmen, and millions of people but few strong, outstanding personalities. When the truly great man arrives, we have no difficulty in recognizing him — he creates criticism. The test of a per- sonality is in its power to create and conquer criticism. If you can create criticism and then conquer it you be- come a hero. Thus heroes are born and thus we become hero worshippers. Tennyson remarked in his grand old age: "When I heard that Byron was dead I thought the world was at an end. " He was a hero worshipper. Be- hold Eobert Burns in his youthful en- thusiasm kissing the grave of Eobert Bruce. Even Alexander said. "If I were not Alexander I would be Dio- genes." Personality is everything. Saunder- son, the dying agnostic, exclaims : ' ' God of Sir Isaac Newton, have mercy on me!" And the little girl who was charmed by Whitefield's preaching, much of which she felt but little of which she understood, cried out in her dying hour: "Take me to Whitefield's God." Personality is everything. One great Scottish philosopher has said: "History is nothing more than a hand- ful of brilliant biographies." When I was in England, this summer, I discovered that there were four things which would " fetch' ' an audience 2 SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY every time. To-day, four things find a responsive chord in every English audi- ence of the middle class. In the first place every reference to " Peace " "brought down the house" instantly. The British people are tired of war. Tired of paying for battleships which never battle and tired of supplying uni- forms for soldiers who never fight. The British workingman has made up his mind that War is a game played by the diplomat in favor of the capitalist. That is, such capitalists as have their billions invested in military and naval hardware. The workingmen of the world have made up their minds that it is social insanity for working men to shoot down workingmen in the name of patriotism. The hard-headed sons of toil are asking the question if national flags and imperial emblems are such expensive luxuries why we can't have one universal ensign for all humanity and save the expense of fighting for little flags which float over only a por- tion of the race. So these men stand for peace, shout for peace, cheer for peace and applaud for peace. A very favorite subject with an English audience is — the Land ques- tion. "The land, the land, 'twas God who gave the land." Why should a man possess more land than he will ever be able to walk over. Why should thousands of acres of land be fenced in and w T alled about to provide pleasure gardens for the spoiled chil- dren of a dying aristocracy? Why should not the men who build bridges, construct canals, erect edifices, manu- facture furniture, produce food and weave the fabrics worn by the world possess a green sod on the mother earth before they sleep beneath it? Why SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY 3 should the stars be free and the earth mortgaged? Why should fields of flowers, lakes of beauty, beds of fern, cloisters of trees, forests of solitude, and a thousand of nature's sunny nooks be shut in by solid masonry and gates of steel? The land question will not down. Every reference to it stirs the English blood. Every allusion to it stirs an English crowd. There is a profound conviction in the Old Country that God has woven the green grass of our little planet for the weary feet of tired humanity. Another subject of popular consid- eration is nothing else than the im- perial possibilities of our fair Domin- ion — Canada looms large in the imagina- tion of the Britishers. And these are the facts which have arrested the at- tention of our kin in the Homeland. Canada, at first an outpost, has become a Dominion. The fourfold guarantee of Canada's future greatness is to be found in — a vast territory, an un- equalled climate, marvelous natural re- sources, and a steadily increasing pop- ulation. What a vast territory! Here is a land with the width of a continent, stretching from ocean to ocean, with mighty mountain ranges, rushing rivers, splendid inland seas, boundless prairies, and ten thousand new born towns and villages — no competitor on the north, a kindly neighbor on the south and on the east and west, the rolling seas of all history and prophecy. Canada contains one-third of the area of the British Empire; an area in ex- tent approaching the proportions of four million square miles. Her thirteen thousand miles of coast line equals half the circumference of the earth. A mil- 4 SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY lion square miles of unexplored terri- tory lies slumbering beneath the snows, northward. Her distances are mag- nificent and equal a pilgrimage from Rome to the North Pole or a voyage from London to Halifax. Canada is almost as large as Europe, thirty times as large as the British Isles, eighteen times as large as Germany, seventeen times as large as France, thirty-three times as large as Italy and twice as large as British India. Twenty-four Switzerlands could be laid out within her one province of British Columbia and not exhaust the territorial possibil- ities of the Canadian Alps. Canada has an unequalled climate. The breath of the north brings vigor and health. The land of the Maple Leaf is athrill with a distinguishing electrical quality. Here the day is ex- tended by Northern Lights which dis- play their glory in a rarefied at- mosphere, and here men may labor without exhaustion during twelve months of the year. Canada is well nigh inexhaustible in her natural resources. Here mineral treasures lie hid less than one hundred fathoms deep. Gold, silver, iron and every precious thing. Canada is the largest unprospected mining district in the world. Her deposits of nickel, corundum and asbestos are the richest in the world. Her coal beds extend from Manitoba boundary to the Peace River. We have the official assurance that in one single coal deposit in Northern Alberta there are, at least. 66,000,000 long tons of coal. Here in the granite vaults of nature lie hid wealth untold and riches beyond human calculation. Food enough to feed a world! Wealth sufficient to build an SECRET Or A STRONG PERSONALITY 5 Empi L,utJ r that the >ou> of men are looking toward Canada, the Jand of .the robust, the strong and the stalwart. Her population has increased at the rate oi oue tnousand a day. During the past ten years a million immigrants trom Great Britain and more than half a million American citizens have found homes of comfort and fields of labor within her boundaries. Last year, sev- enty thousand people left Scotland for this land of hope and prosperity. The purest stream of immigration which ever enriched the soil of a new world — bringing traditions of the motherland and memories of the homeland — speak- ing the language of William Shake- speare and John Milton and held to- gether by the invisible ties of race, religion and literature. A territory vast and unexplored. A climate invigorating and full of health! Resources boundless and undisturbed! An incoming tidal wave of Anglo-Sax- ons, ambitious and strong! — These facts speak eloquently of "the high destiny of the Dominion of Canada." A subject which always finds a responsive chord in the heart of a midale class English audience is any discriminating reference to the char- acter, ability or achievements of DA- VID LLOYD GEOKGE. Lloyd George is, by nationality, a Welshman; by pro- fession, a lawyer; by education, self instructed; by inheritance, a child of poverty; by skill acquired, a statesman; by necessity, a diplomat; by tempera- ment, an orator; by achievement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, by nature, a democrat. He is, at this mo- ment, the most outstanding illustration of ta# power and possibility of a strong 6 SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY personality. Personality is everything! But what is personality? What is the secret of a strong personality? How does Lloyd George control? How does Woodrow Wilson manage? How does Theodore Koosevelt attract? How does William Jennings Bryan magnetize? How does "Billy" Sunday convert? How does Gypsy Smith hypnotize? In this chap- ter we purpose (1) To state and illus- trate what personality "is not." (2) To state and illustrate what are the elements which enter into a strong per- sonality. (3) To indicate the highest possible use which can be made of strength of personality after it has been achieved. Of course, every person has personality — when we speak of person- ality as an achievement we have refer- ence to the strength, fibre and calibre of personality. WHAT PERSONALITY IS NOT. 1. Personality is not the measure of a man's social standing or the reflec- tion of any honorable position, social, political or ecclesiastical. When George IV. sat on the throne of England, Sir Walter Scott reigned in the hearts of the British people. Who was the mon- arch? Who was the sovereign? Who was the king? Which of the two pos- sessed personality? The poet, Byron, was ten years old when he became a "lord," and had conferred upon him all the social advantages of a title and an estate. Three days after this event he suddenly addressed his mother, say- ing: "Mother, do you see any differ- ence in me since I became a lord? I certainly do not." He saw, as with the eye of genius, through the shallow superficialities of the social realm. The shell of the social nut was not worth SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY 7 the' cracking — to him. The most un- satisfactory member of the race is the man who possesses social position and yet lacks personality. 2. A strong personality does not de- pend on material prosperity or commer- cial success. Job reached the highest point in personality when his money had disappeared, when his property had been swept away, when his children had died, when his wife had lost all hope for him and when his neighbors were convinced that he was a hypocrite — then he rose superior to "fate, " "des- tiny" and circumstances. Listen to his words: "I have no hope, nevertheless, I will maintain my ways before Him." 3. A strong personality is not the re- sult of fame, notoriety or popular repu- tation. A person may be "noted" without being notable. A newspaper reporter said to "Sam" Jones: "Mr. Jones, you ought to treat us reporters well — you owe a good deal to the news- papers — the newspapers made you." The Southern evangelist replied, with a knowing twinkle in his eye: "If the newspapers made me, tell them to go ahead and make another 'Sam' Jones just like me. ' ' In the last analysis no newspaper can write a man "up" or write a man "down." If a man is right, the newspapers can't keep him down, and if a man is wrong, all the newspapers in Christendom can't hold him up. Character will out. 4. Personality is not a matter of health or splendid physical proportions. Cassius had "personality" but Caesar said, concerning Cassius: "Yon Cas- sius hath a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much." Eobert Murray Mc- Chaine used to thrill Scotland with his eloquence when he had hardly physical S SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY strength sufficient to stand up in the pulpit. God very often puts big brains into a slender skull. There are frail men who think in every joint and inch of their anatomy. Men must be weigh- ed as well as counted and the part that must be weighed resides just over the eyes and between the ears. Give me a pair of brain scales and I will tell you who the strong men are. There are physical heavy weights who never suf- fered from mental nervousness. The mind is the measure of the man. The man who can put two thoughts to- gether and produce an intellectual sul- phur point sufficient to strike a flame into the fuel of circumstances is the child of genius we are looking for. 5. Personality is not merely a pleas- ing face and an attractive smile. A certain American college professor, of international reputation, has said that "the world will never be saved by tact. " Why should we aim to be popular. There are a score of things better than popularity. Stanley, tho explorer, was never popular with his men. Grant was not popular as a gen- eral. Wellington was never a "hail fellow well met." Popularity is a good dessert but a poor article of diet as a steady staple. To the ash can with vain longings for the approving smile of an unthinking world! Get re- sults! Power is better than popularity. WHAT PERSONALITY IS. 1. Personally is a superabundance of intellectual life. We live in our heads, not in our heels. We live in the spirit, not in the flesh. Life is presonality. Personality is life. William the Con- queror, even in his dying hour, is feared by his servants. Even up to tho moment when the sceptre fall* from SECRET OF A SIliONG PERSONALITY. V his dead hand, they have a healthy dread or his power. But marK tiie mo- ment v\iien tne sceptre drops — tiien his servants uegin to roo his person and empty his treasury. iNapoieon stood over the eornn ol uredericK tne Great and wrote the initials ot his own name — *'N. te." — on the dust which had eilentiy lallen on the casket concainmg the remains of one ot the worm's greatest warriors; and then he sig- nincantly remarked: "If Frederick tne Gieat were anve I would not now be standing here/' I should thmK notl Ireuencji the Great is dead, tneretore Napoleon can make a plaything ot his comn. Personality is lire. A. strong personality inuicates a superabundant life. Charles .Lamb wrote to tne poet Wordsworth saying: "Coleridge lives about tour miies irom here, and the presence of such a man is equal to the innuence of titty persons 01 ordinary culture and ability. ,} A living man standing before living men will always be migntier, for an immediate ettect, than biack ink on white paper. Lite is the channel ot personality. Thought is the radium of personality. Culture is the perlume of personality. Magnetism is the electric thrill of per- sonality. Originality is the color of personality. ±orce is the fire of per- sonality. Ihe Ladder of St. Augustine is the ladder of personality — ' ' 1 Am. I know. I Can. I Ought. I Will. ' '— This is the ladder of personality. "I AM" — Con- sciousness. "I KNOW" — Intellect. 1 ' I CAN ' '—The Will. < < I OUGHT ' '— The Moral Sense. "I WILL"— De- cision of Character. St. Augustine climbed that ladder. So may you. So may I. It is the ladder of personality. 10 SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY Climb it. 2. There has never been a man of strong personality without intense con- victions. A conviction is a belief which grips the reason, crystallizes the will and fires the heart. A man's con- victions are of small value unless they are intense. The man of strong convic- tions is possessed by real love and real hate. In the soul of this man the light is bright and the shadows are dark. Good does not merge into evil or right shade into wrong. The psalmist was possessed of convictions which were clear, distinct and deep-rooted when he exclaimed: "Ye that love the Lord hate evil." You may criticize a man for being too positive, but it is only the positive man who wins. The preacher who is not sure of his theology makes few con- verts. The commercial traveller who is not sure of his goods brings back few orders. The political orator who is not sure of his points wins slender ap- plause. The lawyer who is not sure of his case had better let another plead his cause. The promoter who is not sure of his scheme will find few in- vestors. The general who can always see as many reasons for waiting as for fighting will never lead an army to victory. Most successful men, in their imma- ture years, were charged with being conceited. Conceit is not a bad char- acteristic. We may have too much of it or too little, but time will grind down your organ of conceit if it should be too conspicuous amid the phrenolog- ical hilltops. Better a bump on your head than a hole in your skull. Better too much self-reliance than too little. Have an idea or two of your own. SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY 11 Drive the nails deep into the platform of your creed. Don't be afraid to make good use of the personal pro- noun, liemember you have many noble examples. Paul, for instance: "I know whom I have believed." 3. The man of strong personality is always characterized by feelings which are deep and emotions which are pro- found. The difference between man and man is very largely a matter of feeling. A man's feelings are more intense than his neighbor's, therefore, he is more plain, explicit and outspoken. George MacDonald was a lay reader in the An- glican church as well as an author of considerable ability and fame. He thus records the sensations and emotions which swept over him as he sat in a cathedral and listened to a sermon which had neither point, power or ap- plication: "The thoughts began to burn within me, and the words to come unbidden. I had almost to restrain myself from rising in the pew and ascending the pulpit stairs. I felt like asking the man in the pulpit, who evi- dently had nothing to say, to make room for one who had." Did you ever feel that way? Thank heaven if you have — £•* the sensation if not for the occasion of it. Dwight L. Moody once said to a friend of mine: "James, did you ever feel, when listening to a sermon, that you could rise, enter the pulpit, and do the thing better yourself?" My friend confessed that he had never felt the pressure of an inward conviction strong enough to make him wish that he could exchange places with a dry-as-dust theological expert occupying the pulpit, but evidently Mr. Moody had felt that 12 SECRET Otf A STRONG PERSONALITY he would like to exchange places with the sleeping pulpiteer on more than one occasion. I it was that sensa- tion of a divine dissatisfaction which crowded young Moody out into the highways and hedges in order to reach the unsaved. Moody was the greatest iLustration of pent-up entnusiasm which the world has seen in two hun- dred years. 1 nomas Oarlyle once remarked: "Had I but two shillings in tne world and one great idea, I should regard it as my duty to part with one shilling for paper and ink and live on the other shilling until I had expressed that idea. " Only a man possessed of strong personality could speak that way. Depth of feeling and strong personal- ity go together. Depth of feeling is the thing we look for in the writer, speaker and singer. There is something for which we are willing to go all lengths and pay the price. It is the touch of life — we call it "depths of feeling. ' ? 4. r xhe man of strong personality, if he would bide the test of time, must be clear in his thinking. The greatest creative force is thought. One great idea in the soul of one great man means a new era for the race. You can carry a small, fine-print New Testament in your vest pocket, but the original ideas which it contains have revolutionized the world. Jesus is supreme, to-day, not because men have claimed that he was this or that, but because his thoughts, ideas and convictions have revolutionized the thinking of the race. No strong man is vague in his think- ing. John Wesley toiled for thirteen years before he knew that his soul was •aved* Those were fruitless years. SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY 13 How he wandered from pillar to post. How, "with fear and trembling, he tried to work out a salvation which he did not possess and which did not possess him. How sad and joyless was his ex- perience. He could not move the world because his heart was not fixed. He had not as yet entered into the convic- tion of God's love. Faith was yet to be born. But with faith came joy and with joy came conquest and victory. 5. The man of strong personality is the man who develops a judgment of his own — and then acts on his own judgment. Gypsy Smith called on a well-known Brooklyn divine and, pre- senting credentials which spoke of his character, work and worth, asked that ho might have a hearing in the spaci- ous auditorium of the great preacher. The eloquent divine adjusted his glasses on the ridge of his nose and after making a thorough inspection of the physical proportions of the gypsy preacher, brought his lips together in a positive manner, replying: ''Mr. Smith, I guess I don't want you. " Gypsy Smith returned the D.D.'s stern expression with a look which was earn- est, sincere, determined and unembar- rassed, remarking: "Nevertheless, I think you do want me." The gypsy preacher was sure of his own judgment. He was convinced that he had a mes- sage for the people of Brooklyn and that the people of Brooklyn needed the message. And once the door of the great church was opened, multitudes flocked, night after night, to hear the singing and speaking of the Gypsy boy. He knew the quality of the goods which he carried. Should not the Chris- tian be as confident as Caesar when he said to the frightened boatman in thp 14 SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY storm and tempest: "Kemember, you carry Caesar and his fortunes." 6. There has never been a command- ing personality who was lacking in de- cision of character. Melancthon said concerning Martin Luther: "In the midst of uncertainties he alone knew just what should be done." The law- yer who can find as many reasons against his client as he can in his favor had better not enter the court room. An "open mind" may be a good thing in a philosopher but it is a poor thing in a judge for the business of a judge is to reach a decision. They told General U. S. Grant that he could not advance on the enemy and at the same time hold his base of supplies. Grant replied that if the enemy ad- vanced on him and routed his men there would not be much need for "a base of supplies." They also charged Grant with sacrificing his men by his aggressive war measures, but Grant told his critics that men did not engage in war to "save lives," and proved that in the inaction of a sluggish cam- paign more lives were sacrificed through disease than by bloodshed. 7. A powerful personality, in order to be broad in its sweep, should be per- meated with sympathies which are world wide and universal. Why should we be strong for ourselves? Why should we build a pyramid to the memory of our selfishness and then be buried in the heart of it? Why should we gather bonds and notes, gold and silver, diamonds and pearls and then leave them to mark the place of our departure? Why not be strong for some divine purpose? Brain without blood and intellect without love — how cold. Charles Kingsley's words are SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY 15 sweet and sympathetic: "I love the world, I love it now and I shall love it always." When the apostle exhorts: "Love not the world, neither the things which are in the world/ ' he is not try- ing to curb our love and affection for poor, wayward, sin-stricken humanity. The world needs our love. The men who have moved the world have been the men who have wept over it. How Henry Ward Beecher sobbed over his people. How Moody wept over the multitude. How George Whitefield bap- tized two continents with his tears. Oh, that God would give us the power to liquidize our thoughts. Personality is the great driving force. It is the throb in the pulse, the fire in the eye, the blood in the vein, the quicksilver in the brain, the lightning in the nerve, the electricity in the touch, the transfiguration in the face, the motion in the limb — the soul in action. How shall we develop person- ality? What is the secret of its power? Where shall we kindle its fire? What are the sources of its strength? Where are the unseen rivers of its supply? Personality is Life, Heart, Mind, Soul, Spirit— GOD. Do you not feel the thrill and throb of a divine pulsation in your own soul? Personality? You have it. Personal- ity? You possess it. The driving force is within you. Are you not con- scious of it? Disraeli makes one of his literary characters say (what doubtless he must have said of himself): "It seemed that I felt within me a power by which I could influence mankind!" And Margaret Fuller was striking the same note of universal experienc when she cried out: "I feel within myself an immense force — oh, that I could ex- 16 SECRET OF A STRONG PERSONALITY press it! " Mark this: The greatest driving force is transmitted force. The great- est thing in prayer is not to get God to do something for you which you cannot do for yourself. The greatest achievement is to live so that God can work through you — to be the channel for the transmission of spiritual power. That's better than asking God for health, or friends, or increased compen- sation, or a better house to live in, or material prosperity for your children. Ask God for whatever you feel you need — but believe me — I am about through asking God for things. If I can get the highest blessing, even har- mony with the Most High, I shall have everything below the highest. If I seek the first and the highest, I shall certainly possess the last and the low- est. I wonder sometimes if God does not grow tired of our cry: "Give! Give! Give!" Especially when we ask for small things and things which we desire for ourselves and our chil- dren. Why not ask for the all inclusive first thing? Would you know the secret of power: "Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might." Would you be strong in the Lord and tFe power of His might: "Seek first the Kingdom of God." The greatest achievement is to live so that God can work through you.